When it comes to preparing your taxes, details matter. Even the tiniest error could delay your refund.
CPAs are well-versed in checking for accuracy before filing taxes, but taxpayers preparing their own returns may not be as experienced in catching potential mistakes. To ensure a smooth process, the Illinois CPA Society recommends watching out for these common errors:
- Mistaken data entries – These are among the most common errors made on tax returns. When using tax preparation programs, double check that you’re inputting the correct numbers from W-2s, 1099s and other tax forms. Even if all your calculations are correct, a wrong number can throw everything off. And for dividend entries, be sure to specify if they are qualifying dividends, which are taxed at a more favorable rate.
- Inaccurate Social Security numbers – An incorrect 9-digit Social Security number or forgetting to list numbers for you or your dependents can create unexpected problems. Social Security numbers serve as individual tax ID numbers.
- Misspelled or different names for dependents – Names must be spelled exactly as they are listed on social security cards.
- Accidentally claiming dependents twice – If you have working dependent children who you are claiming as exemptions, be sure they don’t claim themselves as exemptions when filing their own tax returns.
- Incorrect direct deposit information – Having your refund direct deposited into one or multiple bank accounts is very convenient, but make sure your account numbers are correct on your return, especially if you’re listing multiple accounts.
- Wrong filing status – If you are recently married, divorced or had your household situation change, it may need to be reflected in your official filing status.
- Missed filing deadline – Because the usual deadline day of April 15 falls on a Sunday this year and the following Monday is a federal holiday in Washington, D.C., taxpayers have a little more time to file. All returns are due by midnight on Tuesday, April 17. Filing Form 4868 can get you a 6-month paperwork extension, but any taxes owed are still due on the 17th.
The Illinois CPA Society has a free “Find a CPA” online directory at www.icpas.org that allows individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organizations to conduct a simple search for a CPA by location, type of services needed, industries served and language preference.
The Illinois CPA Society, with more than 25,500 members, is one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation. Our mission is dedicated to enhancing the value of the CPA profession through the strategic initiatives of advocacy, information, education and connections.